Zerwick’s Grammatical Analysis of the Greek New Testament

Many who use A Grammatical Analysis of the Greek New Testament in print affectionately refer to it as “Max & Mary” after the author and translator/reviser, Max Zerwick and Mary Grosvenor. The affection is for good reason, “Max & Mary” offer a helpful and informed analysis of the grammar of the Greek New Testament. And they do it in a commentary format, so the Logos Bible Software version (which you already have if you have the Portfolio LE edition of Logos) scrolls synchronously with your text — English (reverse interlinear? yes!), Greek, or whatever other New Testament edition you have.
I’ll be honest: I haven’t used this book much; it seems I have so many other tools available! But I’ve learned that I’m the one who has been missing out. Why? First, some minor points:

  1. There is a great little “Glossary of Grammatical Terms” included in the front matter.
  2. There are links throughout, by section number, to Zerwick’s Biblical Greek, Illustrated by Examples (included in the Introduction to Biblical Greek Collection)

I’ll use 1Ti 2.3-7 as an example of the kind of stuff that “Max & Mary” offer, listing the Greek text (NA27) with the Lexham English Bible translation interspersed. I’ve also highlighted in bold all of the terms that are mentioned. The analysis will follow for each verse, broken out with one item per line.

3 τοῦτο καλὸν καὶ ἀπόδεκτον ἐνώπιον τοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν θεοῦ,
3 This is good and acceptable before God our Savior,

3 ἀπόδεκτος (< ἀποδέχομαι welcome) welcome, pleasing.
σωτήρ 1:1

4 ὃς πάντας ἀνθρώπους θέλει σωθῆναι καὶ εἰς ἐπίγνωσιν ἀληθείας ἐλθεῖν.
4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

4 σωθῆναι aor. inf. pass. σῴζω.
ἐπί-γνωσις knowledge.
ἐλθεῖν aor2 inf. ἔρχομαι.

5 Εἷς γὰρ θεός, εἷς καὶ μεσίτης θεοῦ καὶ ἀνθρώπων, ἄνθρωπος Χριστὸς Ἰησοῦς,
5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and human beings, the man Christ Jesus,

5 εἷς…θεός there is one God.
μεσίτης mediator.

6 δοὺς ἑαυτὸν ἀντίλυτρον ὑπὲρ πάντων, τὸ μαρτύριον καιροῖς ἰδίοις.
6 who gave himself a ransom for all, the testimony at the proper time,

6 δούς aor2 ptc δίδωμι.
ἀντί-λυτρον ransom.
μαρτύριον evidence, testimony, i.e. to what has just been stated (v.4).
καιροῖς ἰδίοις at the proper time (time ordained by God).

7 εἰς ὃ ἐτέθην ἐγὼ κῆρυξ καὶ ἀπόστολος, ἀλήθειαν λέγω οὐ ψεύδομαι, διδάσκαλος ἐθνῶν ἐν πίστει καὶ ἀληθείᾳ.
7 for which I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am speaking the truth, I am not lyinga teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

7 εἰς ὅ to/for which.
ἐ-τέθην I was made, aor. pass. τίθημι appoint.
κῆρυξ -υκος ὁ herald, preacher.
ψεύδομαι lie, tell an untruth.
διδάσκαλος teacher.

Max Zerwick and Mary Grosvenor, A Grammatical Analysis of the Greek New Testament (Rome: Biblical Institute Press, 1974-), 629.

The analysis is rather compact and brief, but it gives helpful information, including potentially difficult bits of parsing/declension and glosses. These can help when reading or when thinking through a passage. Also helpful is the separation of prefix (typically prepositional) and root; this can help one recognize a word that might otherwise be unfamiliar. Lastly, they give some help for irregular forms (e.g. κῆρυξ -υκος ὁ in v. 7).
Max & Mary don’t just do this for a book of the NT, or a particular author; they do it for the whole Greek New Testament. That means that anywhere you go in the New Testament—any passage you’re studying—you can get some help from Max & Mary.
While I am impressed with the helpful analysis, I think I’m most impressed by a few paragraphs in the preface (quoted below in their entirety) that discuss the reason the work exists, and the people it is intended to help:

But most important of all is the purpose to be served. It is hoped that this English revised edition in its turn will mean that the Greek text of the New Testament will not remain exclusively a tool on the desks of a decreasing number of specialists but will become a living power in the hands of theologians, of preachers of the Word, of directors of Bible discussion-circles, and finally in the hands of those who pray in private from the Word of God. This is the purpose to be served. May God bless everyone helping it.

The student who has little knowledge of Greek should bear in mind while using this book that it is by no means necessary to understand immediately everything explained in it. The principle of one thing at a time will serve him well. Many of the linguistic subtleties go beyond the needs of the beginner and are intended for the more advanced student, interested perhaps in the characteristics of Hellenistic Greek as contrasted with classical Greek.

A helpful feature of this work (and a justification of its size) is the fact that a student can begin using it at whatever point he likes, each chapter being self-sufficient and not presupposing explanations given in the previous chapters.

Max Zerwick and Mary Grosvenor, A Grammatical Analysis of the Greek New Testament (Rome: Biblical Institute Press, 1974-), iii–iv.

Comments

  1. Dan DeVilder says:

    Appreciate the post, Rick. I have it, and never used it–didn’t even know I had it. It seems like it might be most helpful if one has the “Biblical Greek, Illustrated.”
    I am wondering if Logos has considered getting Fritz Rienecker’s Linguistic Key to the New Testament. That’s one I and “my boys” used to use a lot in college (although we weren’t supposed to!

  2. This is a fantastic resource, and I almost always consult M&M on a passage. This one is well worth the cost, to be sure.

  3. S. Henderson says:

    I use this resource alongside the NA27 whenever I am working in the GNT; very helpful and a great buy. I would love to use it in conjunction with its sister volume (Biblical Greek, Illustrated by examples) but I can’t afford it when packaged with the Swetnam Grammar which I do not need. How about selling Biblical Greek, Illustrated by examples separately?

  4. Robert Dean says:

    The Rienecker book was later updated by Cleon Rogers and was released by Zondervan as The New Linguistic and Exegetical Key to the Greek New Testament. My question is why was this included in earlier versions of Zondervan’s software, but is no longer included and is not part of the Zondervan collection. This is an excellent resource.

  5. Thanks, all for the comments.
    S. Henderson, we’re looking into whether we can split the “Intro to Biblical Greek” collection to sell “Biblical Greek, Illustrated by Examples” seperately. Thanks for the suggestion! If we’re able, I’ll be sure to mention it on the blog as a follow-up post.
    Those asking about Reinecker & Rogers, I don’t really have any answers as to why Zondervan have not included it in their collection. I’ve noted it as a suggestion, though; but feel free to send a suggestion to suggest@logos.com as well.